The 1st May came quick, but the villagers were prepared, for in the pre dawn morning gloom, before the sun came up, every man, woman, and child carried wood up the valley to the fork in the stream bed just here.
From this a throne was built like a birds nest, for the Ice Man to perch on when he arrived. When dawn came, so did Jack Frost swooping down on his icy coat tails marvelling at the turn out for his payment day.
'Oh, what a gift' he said and landed right on top of the throne. 'Why you shouldn't have, and look at all the work you good people have done for me.' Then his tone turned more dark 'now which children are mine?'
So busy was he, twitching in excitement he did not see the snares close about his legs and wrists, the wire snagging tight on the Green Thief's skin. 'What is this, jewellery?' But his tone soon changed when the snares bit tight and he could not shake them free. The smug, complacent charm slid away to reveal the wild ferocity of a cornered animal. The more he fought, the tighter the snares bit until he lay still on top of the wood stick throne.
Up stepped the trapper boy who took the key from Jack Frosts belt, whilst others pulled the iron casket from the badgers set.
The casket was opened and the valley sang in the brilliant morning light, all were bathed in the warmth and glory of the wild fire from within. The heat was so strong it drew all the villagers close, they had missed it for so long, but the stole seemed to be getting brighter, the light hotter as it mixed with the May Day dawn. Hotter and hotter, until it melted the iron casket itself, the wild fire oozing like boiling jam, searching out the dry timber of the throne itself, seeding a blaze that could not be quenched, and on top sat Jack Frost snared with wire, aghast at his coming fate.
The flames rose higher and higher, crackling and fizzing, and though shards of ice drilled from Jack Frosts frantic elbows, they were no match for the wild fire he had stolen. Up they rose, engulfing The Green Thief and then onwards, igniting the skies, leaping right into the spring sun where they belonged.
When the pyre receded later that day, all that was left of the Ice Man was dust.
A good summer was had and the year turned its regular cycle as everything was back to normal once more. Jack Frost did not darken their Inn door again with fees for his favours, but deep in the combe they noticed a new sapling begin to grow on the spot of the Pyre. Over time it spread upward as is the norm but seemed to twist in pain away from the daylight also, unlike all the other trees in the valley. Some say this is Jack Frost himself pinned into the earth by the wild fire, others that the ground was spoiled by the heat and ice of that morning.
What ever the truth, the tree seems to twist away from the sunshine which feeds it, and why would that be so?
Now hidden in the roots of this tree is a journal in a box, please sign, leave a comment or even a drawing.
This is an official Geocache and is hidden here with kind permission from Quantock Hills AONB, so please hide/replace as you have found it, out of sight from prying eyes but still easily accessible for storywalkers.
Now the good people of Holford have a game, called 'What Time is it Jack Frost?' would you like to play?
The game is simple, one person should play Jack and face the stunted tree, the others play the village children. The idea is to touch the twisted tree without Jack seeing you move, or being able to catch you.
The children ask - What time is it Jack Frost?
And Jack replies - Why its Spring time, and the children advance quietly, hoping Jack won't turn and see them move.
Then the children ask Jack again - What time is it Jack Frost?
And Jack will reply - Why its Summer time, and again the children advance quietly, hoping Jack won't turn and catch them, or see them move.
This can go on for a little while oscillating back and forth across the warmer seasons until Jack Frost replies
Ice time, or Winter time.
At which point Jack turns from the tree to snatch at the children, if he catches any then they are out, but if a child gets to the tree without being caught, then Jack has lost.
So time to ask the Green Thief what time is it?
Many thanks for walking this tale trail
Let me know how you got on
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